I bought myself a recumbent, stationary bike for Christmas. I bought it from Amazon, had it delivered, and put it together myself. That first sentence has some adjectives piled up in it, so let me unpack them. Recumbent means “lying down,” as in “The emperor was recumbent upon his couch as his serving girl peeled grapes for him.” Stationary means--in this context--not moving; it’s not about nice paper and envelopes, in case you were confused.
So I bought myself the perfect exercise device, something that I can sit down and not move on. It’s better for my back than walking.
I’ve got it in the bedroom in front of the TV in there. My current routine involves pedaling on it for 40 minutes while I stream House episodes. I go 40 minutes at about 14 miles per hour which takes me more than nine miles while I burn 350 calories. How you can go 14 miles an hour while you are not moving at all is something of a mystery to me, but it sounds impressive, so that is the way I am going to say it.
I bought this lying-down, non-moving bike to use on the days that I can’t walk, but I’ve been doubling up some days. I’ve discovered that I can walk pain free if I get up early enough. If I don’t or can’t get up early enough, then I come home and do my time on the bike, but doing it while watching TV is pleasant enough that many days I will do even if I’ve gotten up early and put in my 2 miles.
Having the TV there is a big help. When I first got the bike, I watched X-Files, and that was okay, but then one day I tried House and it turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to my activity.
I’ve watched House before, but I decided I was going to watch it again until it “jumps the shark,” but, being into the third season now, it occurs to me that might have happened during the opening credits of the pilot episode.
That is neither here nor there.
Here I am, a man who will turn 58 later this year, discovering the benefits of exercise. Maybe not discovering. I have been walking for exercise since 1996, after all, but I am getting pulled deeper and deeper into the exercise vortex.
I am the guy who, when his classmates were playing basketball, went back to his room and did trigonometry. That did work out okay for me, to be sure, but now as someone who is coming up on 60 at blinding speed, I have to wonder what life would’ve been like if I’d carved out 20 or 30 minutes a day for exercise when I was in my teens and stuck with it.
Well, there is no going back, but there is starting now. And I have. The walking has done wonderful things for me, and it terrifies me that the issues I have with my back might take that away from me, but I’ve got my bike now. I ride on it; I sweat; never getting more than 18 inches from the TV the whole time.
But that’s the thing. I like getting out in the town. I like looking at people’s yards. I like seeing how my taxes are being spent for improvement of the streets. I like walking past the kids who are cleaning the windows at “Bricks and Mortar” and telling them, “Okay, guys, I want to be able to eat off that window.”
So now I am a fat, old guy who is preaching the benefits of moderate exercise to anyone who will listen, “I am Lazurus returned from the dead and I...”
Well, it’s raining outside, so I think I will go ride on my bike and watch some House.
— Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like” the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook